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MTOs long awaited Highway 7 project is finally underway

by Chris Daponte

ROCKWOOD - A Ministry of Transportation official says most people are pleased with the plans for reconstruction of Highway 7 through here.

“The feedback’s been really positive,” senior project engineer Robert Bakalarczyk said at a public meeting Aug. 4 at the Rockmosa community hall.

The MTO agreed to the meeting at the behest of the township, he said, to let locals know about the construction schedule and allow them to meet people who will be in Rockwood during the project.

Bakalarczyk said Graham Brothers Construction Limited was awarded the project, with a tender of about $7-million. Installing signs and performing locates began Aug. 2 and construction runs until November, and picking up in 2012, likely from May until November.

The rehabilitation project,  which runs northeast on Alma Street from just beyond Fall Street to the corner of Main Street, and southeast along Main past the intersection with Halton Regional Road 32, will include:

- reconstructing the road;

- rehabilitating the Eramosa River bridge;

- fixing the existing storm sewer system as required;

- replacing existing sidewalks, curbs and gutters. and paved shoulders;

- extending or replacing culverts; and

- modifying commercial and private entrances as required.

Close to 200 people attended the official public meeting last June and while significantly less were expected at the Aug. 4 meeting, Bakalarczyk said attendance was “steady.”

Most people were curious about the construction schedule, he said, adding there has “a lot of speculation and misinformation.”

He said construction this year will focus on the area between Fall and George Streets, and next year the work will continue from George Street past the intersection with Halton Regional Road 32.

Most seemed pleased the project is starting, Bakalarczyk said, and that there will be sidewalks on both sides of the highway and a left turn lane at Harris Street.

He confirmed again the highway will remain open during construction, with traffic  reduced to one lane daily and restored to two-way traffic at the end of each working day.

Guelph-Eramosa Mayor Chris White said keeping the road open was the biggest concern from the beginning.

“The road desperately needs the repair ... but any closure would have been very harmful,” White told the Advertiser.

The mayor agreed most people at the meeting wanted to know about the schedule, while several had individual concerns. “I think the initial meeting gave some people the opportunity to address their issues,” he said.

The extra meeting helps assure residents and also provides an opportunity for the MTO and contractors to address minor issues that could come up during construction.

“The MTO has been very accommodating,” White said.

While glad to see progress on the project, White said there are still traffic and safety concerns, particularly in southern Rockwood. He added township officials will continue to fight for traffic lights in the area.

 

August 12, 2011

 
 

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